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Sennheiser HD560S Review (Headphone)

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 1 0.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 22 7.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 138 46.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 139 46.3%

  • Total voters
    300

GaryH

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The EQ was just an experiment it's not a global one (wich I don't have). I want my headphones to work wherever , whenever with whatever. Wich is why mods trump EQ for me.
Sounds like you might like the Qudelix 5K, which is global and will trump any mod, with well-made EQ applied to its built-in customizable parametric equalizer. If you download the Neutron Player trial and apply the parametric EQ profile (second link) I suggested, you can get an idea of just how good the HD560S can sound with the Qudelix (providing your phone has enough power to achieve satisfactory volume for you). A basic graphic EQ like the one you experimented with is not representative of how much a fully parametric EQ can improve a headphone's sound.
 
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Spkrdctr

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Has Amir measured any headphone that had bass above the curve? It seems like every single headphone lacks bass 'out of the box". It would be nice if someone made some that came out of the box with an above the curve performance level. I use equalizer APO and it doesn't seem to do diddly squat. I can set the bass up by quite a bit and can't tell any difference in all three of my listening devices. I would especially like a headphone that at least matched the curve down to 50hz, after that it could hit a brick wall and be down 24db at 40hz. It seems they all drop way too fast below 100hz. Anyone know of anything out there? I'm trying to like headphones versus my surround sound with sub and I can't get the bass in anything so far to remotely give me the enjoyment of speakers. Any ideas would be helpful. :)
 

Jimbob54

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Has Amir measured any headphone that had bass above the curve? It seems like every single headphone lacks bass 'out of the box". It would be nice if someone made some that came out of the box with an above the curve performance level. I use equalizer APO and it doesn't seem to do diddly squat. I can set the bass up by quite a bit and can't tell any difference in all three of my listening devices. I would especially like a headphone that at least matched the curve down to 50hz, after that it could hit a brick wall and be down 24db at 40hz. It seems they all drop way too fast below 100hz. Anyone know of anything out there? I'm trying to like headphones versus my surround sound with sub and I can't get the bass in anything so far to remotely give me the enjoyment of speakers. Any ideas would be helpful. :)
I wouldn't advise them! https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ze-99-noir-review-headphone.23116/post-770534
 

Pdxwayne

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Has Amir measured any headphone that had bass above the curve? It seems like every single headphone lacks bass 'out of the box". It would be nice if someone made some that came out of the box with an above the curve performance level. I use equalizer APO and it doesn't seem to do diddly squat. I can set the bass up by quite a bit and can't tell any difference in all three of my listening devices. I would especially like a headphone that at least matched the curve down to 50hz, after that it could hit a brick wall and be down 24db at 40hz. It seems they all drop way too fast below 100hz. Anyone know of anything out there? I'm trying to like headphones versus my surround sound with sub and I can't get the bass in anything so far to remotely give me the enjoyment of speakers. Any ideas would be helpful. :)
K371
 

pk500

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Has Amir measured any headphone that had bass above the curve? It seems like every single headphone lacks bass 'out of the box". It would be nice if someone made some that came out of the box with an above the curve performance level. I use equalizer APO and it doesn't seem to do diddly squat. I can set the bass up by quite a bit and can't tell any difference in all three of my listening devices. I would especially like a headphone that at least matched the curve down to 50hz, after that it could hit a brick wall and be down 24db at 40hz. It seems they all drop way too fast below 100hz. Anyone know of anything out there? I'm trying to like headphones versus my surround sound with sub and I can't get the bass in anything so far to remotely give me the enjoyment of speakers. Any ideas would be helpful. :)
Meze 99 Classics. Bass cannons.

Amir's measurements of the 99 Noir, which are Drop's versions of the 99 Classics and basically identical to the original. KABOOM goes the bass:

index.php
 

solderdude

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I can't get the bass in anything so far to remotely give me the enjoyment of speakers. Any ideas would be helpful.

Skullcandy Crusher (not very high sound quality but tactile bass) or use portable bass shakers on your back.
Or buy a decent planar, boost the lows and use an amp with power but it will never bring the same bass as a bass shaker.
 
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Spkrdctr

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Ok, I am going to order these on Amazon. That way if they are too wonky, I can return them. But I'm thinking they might be just right for my specialized usage. GREAT recommendation guys. I asked and you guys delivered. Thanks!
 

_theLaughingman

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Ok, I am going to order these on Amazon. That way if they are too wonky, I can return them. But I'm thinking they might be just right for my specialized usage. GREAT recommendation guys. I asked and you guys delivered. Thanks!
I don't think you'll be disappointed with the Meze', they've got their own niche of customers.
 

Robbo99999

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I wonder the same thing. Perhaps angled drivers and/or pads plus the distance of the drivers from the head make the difference. BTW I own K702's; I wish they had more bass, but I have no complaints about soundstage.
I think it's fairly spacious earcups - so there's free space around your ears combined with an angling of the driver achieved by pads or angled drivers. I've got 3 headphones with angled pads or drivers and two of them do soundstage properly, that's the K702 & HD560s; now the Hifiman HE4XX I have is the third and that doesn't do soundstage quite as well, but the thing about that is that the earcups are not spacious as the pad walls are so thick so your ear is really quite snug in that space....so that's my thinking on the importance of a spacious earcup to allow proper space for your ear - generally not being able to feel your ear touching the headphone. The HD600 I have has spacious earcups but doesn't have angled drivers and pads, and that's really quite hopeless for soundstage, so you can't have just one of the variables to create good soundstage - you need angling & spacious earcups in my experience, and of course a decent EQ'able frequency response.
 

fastfreddy666

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My hd560s arrived today. Honestly these sound garbage to me out of the box. Guess I'm getting some useful experience correlating measurments against what I hear.
After about 20 mins I had to reach for EQ and crossfeed. That has fixed the frequency response (to taste) and divorced the sound from the drivers.
Looking at the EQ I've used these may not be saveble with mods ( but I shall probably try).
The clamp and pads are unpleasant too.
View attachment 178211
Is it possible to get better pads for these headphones? I can fix the clamp. Have some ideas to increase bass. Putting a damping material in front of the driver could reduce treble to an acceptable level but will kill upper air frequencies. Maybe solderdudes mod could work for me.
How do these headphones come apart? Any links to teardown guide would be appreciated.

Remember the headphone has a slightly high impedance between 133 and 224 ohm. Also its sensitivity is below average. I hope you use a decent headphone amp to drive the headphone. Ohm's law: Z = V/I. High impedance circuits are low current and potentially high voltage, whereas low impedance circuits are the opposite. Nwavguy has a good explainer: http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/02/headphone-impedance-explained.html
.
My subjectivist "friends" at superbestaudiofriends did a funny takedown (and a teardown of sorts) of the headphone:


"Ears validate the measurements, not the other way" :p Yeah, right. They measured it and still couldn't believe the science. You can't have it both ways. How do you separate facts from fiction? Karl popper came to the rescue and came up with "The Falsification Principle"
In order for a theory to be considered scientific it must be able to be tested. If the test succeeds. Your theory is correct (for the time being)

"These sound like garbage to me" It's an expression of your feelings aka an opinion that unfortunately cannot be proven. I'm sorry you feel this way. In the end the ego always wins. Humans are wired this way. Scientific thinking cost energy and time and the brain is in "conservation of energy" mode most of the time. This is a good thing. If an apex predator is coming for you it's crucial you make a split second decision about what you do next. Overthinking is probably not a good idea in that situation. This is why facts will never convince people who already made up their minds. Hello, Anti-vaxxers :)

The science must be wrong.


Off-topic:

In the early days of psychoacoustics Fletcher (1940) suggested that the auditory system behaves like a bank of overlapping bandpass filters.
Say what? It's much easier to understand when you visualize it:
placecodingb.jpg


He called it critical bands. The concept describes the frequency bandwidth of the "auditory filter" created by the cochlea, the sense organ of hearing within the inner ear. Roughly, the critical band is the band of audio frequencies within which a second tone will interfere with the perception of the first tone by auditory masking

Science matters.

Throw it away and buy a HD800s for ten times the price. Don't forget to EQ it though.
 
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DanTheMan

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Well, you guys killed me in this thread. I’ve been perfectly satisfied with my HD650 for over 12 years. You didn’t sell me on this headphone but instead the 400SE….. SMH, why did I do it? The 560 have made me sweat several times, but their price is just high enough to keep me from pulling the trigger.
 

MayaTlab

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I think it's fairly spacious earcups - so there's free space around your ears combined with an angling of the driver achieved by pads or angled drivers. I've got 3 headphones with angled pads or drivers and two of them do soundstage properly, that's the K702 & HD560s; now the Hifiman HE4XX I have is the third and that doesn't do soundstage quite as well, but the thing about that is that the earcups are not spacious as the pad walls are so thick so your ear is really quite snug in that space....so that's my thinking on the importance of a spacious earcup to allow proper space for your ear - generally not being able to feel your ear touching the headphone. The HD600 I have has spacious earcups but doesn't have angled drivers and pads, and that's really quite hopeless for soundstage, so you can't have just one of the variables to create good soundstage - you need angling & spacious earcups in my experience, and of course a decent EQ'able frequency response.

I am somewhat skeptical about that for a part of the spectrum where HRTF matters. Below 3kHz or so these larger over-ears tend to have a somewhat stable response when varying the position (front/back/high/low) and react quite linearly when varying pad compression (SPL rises linearly), so there is quite a bit of insensitivity to where exactly the driver is positioned relative to the ear and what happens in the front volume.

Besides, what looks like an angled driver effectively becomes, at least for me, a parallel driver, because my head isn't shaped like a hammer-style ear simulator (it's rather that the parallel drivers are angled slightly backwards when on my head, designing the drivers to be slightly angled merely brings them closer to a parallel plane).

For example, with blocked ear canal mics, the behaviour of the HD560S and HD650 under pad compression / pull (with potential breach of seal), with the blue trace as they naturally sit on my head, compensated to a flat line, and the red traces showing the difference. Up to 3kHz or so the FR of these two headphones (or most fully open HPs that I've tried for that matter) tends to be quite invariant :
Screenshot 2022-01-12 at 07.21.13.pngScreenshot 2022-01-12 at 07.21.33.png
These results are quite similar to DIYaudio's : https://diyaudioheaven.wordpress.com/headphones/earpads/
With these headphones the FR stays quite similar up to 3kHz even when the several variables that are modulated when compressing the pads, well, vary.
You can contrast that behaviour with more esoteric designs such as the Hi-X65, or most ANC headphones, which tend to be quite a lot less linear in that band under pad compression / pull :
Screenshot 2022-01-12 at 07.21.54.pngScreenshot 2022-01-12 at 07.22.26.png

In regards to the front/back/up/down positional variation, with the HD560S the largest deviations I'm noticing are above 3kHz :
Screenshot 2022-01-12 at 08.26.22.png
Averages of five individual traces at each position, blue trace as they naturally sit on my head, solid red traces the front / back variation (as far as it's feasible without deforming my pinna), dotted red traces the up/down variation (two headband "clicks" up or down vs. normal on both sides).
The difference below 3kHz is what I'd consider audible given the very large bandwidths involved, but not that significant either. Also, because my head isn't a flat plate, some of the difference could come from seal (the HD560S doesn't seal optimally on my head in general because of its yoke design and pads stiffness) - although that should have only a moderate effect with these headphones, or coupling, so we're not strictly observing the front / back / up / down variation here. Isolating the effect of front / back / up / down variation from pad compression / seal tests is better done on an ear simulator with a flat plate around the pinna (although that also won't be representative of the actual, on-head behaviour then).

The thing though is that HRTF modulation already occurs above a few hundred hertz, so above that frequency and below 3kHz or so I'm not certain that angled drivers have anything to do with whatever people call "soundstage" for these larger, fully open over-ears. They won't magically produce a FR at your drum that will ideally correspond to your own individual HRTF in that band for example (which isn't varying that much between individuals at these frequencies anyway).

Above that I believe that Rtings tried to propose an hypothesis but I'm not certain that it's very conclusive.

Also, what do we make of people who find that some of their in-ears achieve better "soundstage" than some of their over-ears ? Personally I have little understanding for the notion of "soundstage" with stereo recordings, but I've found various forms of binauralisation processes of object based formats to be more convincing with some IEMs / earbuds than some of my over-ears. In general for me it's just about reaching a certain basal FR and then hoping that the binauralisation process / object based format will perform well for my own HRTF.
 
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usern

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I have also noticed that 560S tonality is much more sensitive to positional changes than for example 660S.
 

pk500

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Ok, I am going to order these on Amazon. That way if they are too wonky, I can return them. But I'm thinking they might be just right for my specialized usage. GREAT recommendation guys. I asked and you guys delivered. Thanks!
Unfortunately, Meze has become the butt of a lot of audiophile jokes, and it's unfair.

The 99 Classics is not an audiophile's dream, but it's a good headphone for people who want abundant bass. I call it "Beats in a tuxedo" because while the bass booms and blooms into the mids, at least there are decent mids and solid, non-shrill treble with the Mezes. It's a very fun sound signature that's not audiophile but more refined than the typical hollowed-out, V-shaped signature of consumer wireless brands.

Plus the build quality and appearance of the 99 Classics/Noir are sublime. All metal hardware, leather pads and wooden cups -- not a centimeter of plastic on these cans. This also makes them very rebuildable and mod-able, if desired.

Finally, the 99 Classics is one of the easiest headphones to drive. Any phone will drive them easily to solid fidelity, even with stock cables.
 

Robbo99999

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I am somewhat skeptical about that for a part of the spectrum where HRTF matters. Below 3kHz or so these larger over-ears tend to have a somewhat stable response when varying the position (front/back/high/low) and react quite linearly when varying pad compression (SPL rises linearly), so there is quite a bit of insensitivity to where exactly the driver is positioned relative to the ear and what happens in the front volume.

Besides, what looks like an angled driver effectively becomes, at least for me, a parallel driver, because my head isn't shaped like a hammer-style ear simulator (it's rather that the parallel drivers are angled slightly backwards when on my head, designing the drivers to be slightly angled merely brings them closer to a parallel plane).

For example, with blocked ear canal mics, the behaviour of the HD560S and HD650 under pad compression / pull (with potential breach of seal), with the blue trace as they naturally sit on my head, compensated to a flat line, and the red traces showing the difference. Up to 3kHz or so the FR of these two headphones (or most fully open HPs that I've tried for that matter) tends to be quite invariant :
View attachment 178395View attachment 178396
These results are quite similar to DIYaudio's : https://diyaudioheaven.wordpress.com/headphones/earpads/
With these headphones the FR stays quite similar up to 3kHz even when the several variables that are modulated when compressing the pads, well, vary.
You can contrast that behaviour with more esoteric designs such as the Hi-X65, or most ANC headphones, which tend to be quite a lot less linear in that band under pad compression / pull :
View attachment 178397View attachment 178398

In regards to the front/back/up/down positional variation, with the HD560S the largest deviations I'm noticing are above 3kHz :
View attachment 178399
Averages of five individual traces at each position, blue trace as they naturally sit on my head, solid red traces the front / back variation (as far as it's feasible without deforming my pinna), dotted red traces the up/down variation (two headband "clicks" up or down vs. normal on both sides).
The difference below 3kHz is what I'd consider audible given the very large bandwidths involved, but not that significant either. Also, because my head isn't a flat plate, some of the difference could come from seal (the HD560S doesn't seal optimally on my head in general because of its yoke design and pads stiffness) - although that should have only a moderate effect with these headphones, or coupling, so we're not strictly observing the front / back / up / down variation here. Isolating the effect of front / back / up / down variation from pad compression / seal tests is better done on an ear simulator with a flat plate around the pinna (although that also won't be representative of the actual, on-head behaviour then).

The thing though is that HRTF modulation already occurs above a few hundred hertz, so above that frequency and below 3kHz or so I'm not certain that angled drivers have anything to do with whatever people call "soundstage" for these larger, fully open over-ears. They won't magically produce a FR at your drum that will ideally correspond to your own individual HRTF in that band for example (which isn't varying that much between individuals at these frequencies anyway).

Above that I believe that Rtings tried to propose an hypothesis but I'm not certain that it's very conclusive.

Also, what do we make of people who find that some of their in-ears achieve better "soundstage" than some of their over-ears ? Personally I have little understanding for the notion of "soundstage" with stereo recordings, but I've found various forms of binauralisation processes of object based formats to be more convincing with some IEMs / earbuds than some of my over-ears. In general for me it's just about reaching a certain basal FR and then hoping that the binauralisation process / object based format will perform well for my own HRTF.
I don't know the exact mechanism of how soundstage is created and conveyed within a headphone, but I'm conveying my own observations with my own headphones and drawing parallels to their common design features: angled / spacious cups....does seem like this tallies with other headphones like the well-lauded soundstage monster of the HD800s for instance, so there seems to be something to it. I'd have to listen & test a bunch of headphones with angled/spacious cups to know if my soundstage observations would continue in that same vein, so I'm obviously just postulating, it's obviously not definitive.
 

pk500

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Well, you guys killed me in this thread. I’ve been perfectly satisfied with my HD650 for over 12 years. You didn’t sell me on this headphone but instead the 400SE….. SMH, why did I do it? The 560 have made me sweat several times, but their price is just high enough to keep me from pulling the trigger.
You made a good choice. The HE-400se won't be redundant, as its sound signature is noticeably different than that of the HD 650.

Plus I'm a big proponent of having different brands, driver types and back types in a collection. Not sure if you own any planars, but the HE-400se are a wonderful introduction to planar-magnetics that may stay welded in many collections even after users climb to higher-end planars. To me, the HE-400se are becoming a benchmark budget open-back planar, almost like the HD 6XX have become a benchmark budget open-back dynamic.
 

Jimbob54

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Unfortunately, Meze has become the butt of a lot of audiophile jokes, and it's unfair.

The 99 Classics is not an audiophile's dream, but it's a good headphone for people who want abundant bass. I call it "Beats in a tuxedo" because while the bass booms and blooms into the mids, at least there are decent mids and solid, non-shrill treble with the Mezes. It's a very fun sound signature that's not audiophile but more refined than the typical hollowed-out, V-shaped signature of consumer wireless brands.

Plus the build quality and appearance of the 99 Classics/Noir are sublime. All metal hardware, leather pads and wooden cups -- not a centimeter of plastic on these cans. This also makes them very rebuildable and mod-able, if desired.

Finally, the 99 Classics is one of the easiest headphones to drive. Any phone will drive them easily to solid fidelity, even with stock cables.
Not convinced at all that the Noir pads from Drop are leather. Also, that horrid size interior that squishes larger ears.
 
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